Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Soundtrack of my life

Before getting my list out, I just wanted to inform that, being a person who has lived in Korea for the first 14 years of my life, not surprisingly, a soundtrack of my life will contain some Korean and Japanese music. So don't be startled if the song is singing in a language that you do not know. The order is: title of the song - artist.

1. Oasis - Do As Infinity
(http://youtu.be/KgdlbhxCEEM - embedding the video is disabled)
This song, I would say, kept me under control during the age range that most people would call as a "phase." I'm usually into alternative/punk rock that are usually very pumpy and somewhat loud, but for some reason I really liked to listen to this song during my middle school. Still, I never really got to see the music video of the song, which I am kind of glad that I didn't, because I feel like I would've gone into the "phase" if I got to see the music video of this. It's just weirdly creepy and I feel like I would've become very emotional if I got to see this when I was a middle school kid. I still like the song though.

2. Link - L'arc~en~ciel

This song pretty much represents my high school life because I was really into Japanese animation during this time and I was especially crazy about the animation called Fullmetal Alchemist. I dare to say that I have dedicated 2+ years of my life during high school, watching and doing some other fan-related activities such as writing fan-fictions or drawing fan-arts. You can go ahead and judge me on that and I won't care because I am so not ashamed of myself during that time, and I actually quite treasure that time.

3. Romantic Cat (낭만고양이) - Cherry Filter

This is probably the only kind of Korean music that I listened to and actually liked during middle school, while 95% of my friends were going crazy on some idols and their "a cappella" or dance music that always sang about a girl that they love, would die for, or got heartbroken. This song does not sing a single thing about love but it literally sings about a cat that dreams about going to an ocean and basically living a heavenly life for a cat, never having to go through garbage cans and just having endless fish for oneself. I really liked its up-beat rhythm and light lyrics, along with a very talented voice of the vocal. I actually got to like the main vocal a lot more by hearing a story about how she became a singer, which I got to know long after becoming the band's fan. Long story short, she was a young middle school teacher but she quit her job and became a singer, because that was what she truly loved to do, and I'm glad that she became a singer.

4. Poprocks & Coke - Green Day

I cannot not include a song by Green Day. Green Day is my favorite band and I had a real hard time picking just one song by them, because I really like many of their songs and I simply couldn't pick just one song. But I picked this song because I think it somewhat represents my life because I'm quite of a creeper (as in creeping other people out in a random way) and someone referred to this song as the "cutest stalker song" so I thought it worked out well in that context.

5. Happily Ever After - Shoko Nakagawa (中川翔子)

Probably the song that I listened to the most, and loved the most. I still do. I highly doubt that I'll ever listen to a song more than I did for this song. It also relates to my high school life and an animation that has greatly influenced my life. I think the reason that I like this song so much is because this song was used as the background music for all the epic scenes in the animation and it just recaps all the energy and many other strong, even motivational feelings that I felt when I was watching the scene.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Field Trip to Library

Since my topic was based on relatively current issue, I thought that I'll have to find something that's somewhat relating to the issue that I plan to discuss about. But I still didn't know what could be a good keyword or how to vary the keywords so I could specifically find a book source. So I went to the College Library and asked for help, after breifly explaning what I needed to do. After couple of searching with keyword "music" and "critisism", we pinned on a new keyword, "bubblegum (music)" and finally found a book. Unfortunately the book wasn't for the criticism of bubblegum music but more of a praise to the bubblegum music. Still, the librarian suggested to me that there could be a section talking about criticism and that I could look at the references made in that section. I also thought that this could be a good counterargument source, or just another point of view that portrays pop music as something that's not too devastating to the music industry.

The book was right at the College Library and the floor that I was at, so having the call number, it wasn't that hard to find the book. When I found the book I pulled the book out and briefly looked at the contents. It appeared that it wasn't a book by an author but an edited book with the collection of multiple writings. There was a title saying "informal" history of bubblegum music in the introduction, and one of the titles in the section "Up Close and Personal" was "I Hate Bubblegum!", which I assumed to be a criticizing piece. The books around were also talking about rather "new" music, or the music that started to get popular around slightly before my generation. The titles actually sounded very interesting that I kind of wanted to read personally, just for fun. Few of the titles were: The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal, Grown Up All Wrong: 75 Great Rock and Pop Artists from Vaudeville to Techno, and All Shook Up: How Rock 'n' Roll Changed America.

The book that I found and checked out was:
Cooper, Kim, and David Smay, ed. Bubblegum Music is the Naked Truth. Los Angeles: Feral House, 2001. Print.

Its call number is: ML 3534 B795 2001

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Fowels and Advertisement

Zoosk is one of the online-date searching website, such as Match.com and eHarmony. The advertisement is popularly referred as "Man versus dart," or as a banned commercial, which was actually banned in Europe only and was broadcasted in the US. And I know it is broadcasted in the US because I saw this commercial during winter break when I was staying at my friend's house. The advertisement starts with two women, who seem like to be at a workplace and looking at Zoosk, just running into a "cute" guy. The woman who was looking over the shoulder says that she is more into the atheletic type, and the other woman who was actually searching for a date asks, "Didn't your friend set you up with an 'athelete'?" Then there's a quick flashback of the woman's date with the "athelete," which is quite a terrible date. The guy is not an athelete, nor atheletic because apparently he thinks that dart is a "real sport," performing his darting skill with a very odd shout and a stretch, shooting a random guy's chest with his dart who was standing somewhat close to the actual dartboard. This dart-hitting-a-person part was the reason for banning in Europe. After that short flashback, the woman tells her friend that she would just stick to Zoosk's ratings, with her iffy voice that strongly suggesting that it's better to look at the information in Zoosk than to hope that the set-up date would turn out to meet all the standards that the person is looking for.

What makes this advertisement unique is that, unlike the two example websites' adertisements, which mainly shoots for the need for affiliation and forms a lot of aesthetic comfortness, Zoosk's advertisement shoots for something different. It contains much more touch of humor, and evokes the "negative" emotion by showing the viewer the possible disasters that can occur by using other sites or sources for a date than Zoosk. But I think the humor kind of backfired in this advertisement because when I was trying to remember this ad, I only remembered the flashback part, which was hilarious, and not actually the name of the website, Zoosk. But for a short-term, I would say that this strategy is very effective since it indeed leaves a very strong impression and if I were a person who was trying to find a date on website, I would've definitely tried Zoosk just for the huge laugh that it gave me. Also, I've ran into several ads made by eHarmony and Match.com, and because their ad strategies are so similar and are not changing their style much, I find it rather boring and unoriginal. Therefore in that way, I think Zoosk did a really good job for being different, and in a good way too.

This is the example commercial that I could find for eHarmony. I hope this could explain what I meant by boring or unoriginal:

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Research question

Is "catchy" song a "good" song?

I know that this question is very broad and need to be more specified, but I chose this question because I thought this wouldn't be too cliche if I included some concrete supports like the effects of catchiness that makes it more memorable in the brain and if it causes any more "likablility" of the song. Also I would look at what it means to be a "good" song, and rather focus on a scientific reasoning such as the harmony that the song makes and if that is typically likable sound to the ear. I don't know exactly how long the auto-tuned, repetitive songs were popular but I've seen many split opinions for those types of songs, dividing into either haters of the song or admitting that they do like it. So I would also like to compare people's reasons for liking/not liking the song, and look at the differences made between the reason for non-catchy popular songs and the reason for recent, catchy popular songs such as Rebecca Black's Friday.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Gladwell Summary

Gladwell looks at various ways to approach to the idea of plagiarism and how it can be seen as a crime or "something borrowed," depending on the content that it's been plagirazed and how much of it was plagiarized. He does not give a clear conclusion or a strong opinion, but suggests that an "obsession" with plagiarism can be harmful and hinder the creativity and/or the diversity of the various art forms, which includes writings, plays, and music. Giving the example of the Broadway play "Frozen," which he himself got plagiarized by the playwright, he presents his own confusion and struggle with drawing the line in the plagiarism as a crime or a "transformed" art form.

I thought this piece was kind of interesting since I never really thought about plagiarism that much except that it was something that I should never do it, which is also what I've been taught all along in the high school. It was a little hard to summarize since I felt like, for the most part, Gladwell didn't really have a point to state but more to make the readers think about the plagiarism and be more considerate about it.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Rand Summary

Ayn Rand explores racism in her piece, Racism. But she is not simply exploring the stereotypical racism of white-to-minority race-racism but the idea of very racism itself; she claims that the "civil rights" that African Americans are demanding is also a type of racism, in a way that it is a "right" that violates another's right, which should not and cannot exist. For example, she mentions that "...to assign children to certain schools by reason of their race, is equally evil whether one does it for purposes of segregation or integration" (133). And she believes that racism is "the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism" (126) because it ignores the individual's rights and that it leads to backwardness in the US, not allowing equal rights among the individuals but promoting the privilege of "group(s)" that's divided by races. Thus, according to Rand, since the new legislation for the civil rights violate the rights of white people (or "the government is discriminating for some citizens (African Americans) at the expense of others (white Americans)" (134)), the problem of racism is not corrected but is still remaining.

I did not enjoy reading this piece, first because of so much hatred and ferocious styles in the writings, then because of her bluntly stated ideas that I couldn't and wouldn't agree with. I thought that Rand didn't have a proper understanding of the concepts that she was frequently using, such as collectivism and individualism because she took those ideas to the extreme and really focused on one (or a very few) aspect of each concept. I could see where she was going but she shouldn't have addressed collectivism as a whole to be the source of racism because "group before individual" is only a part of its aspect and it can't be put that simply. Same reason would go with individualism and capitalism. She also somewhat contradicts her argument because if what she wants is disappearance of civil rights, then the discrimination against African Americans will continue to exist and if individuals were allowed to choose whatever they want with their "equal rights", the segregation probably won't be fixed. For instance, an African American could say that he or she wants to be integrated in public services (such as schools) but a white American can say that he or she doesn't want that because of some other reasons. Then the compromise cannot be made since if the public services were integrated then it's violating the white American's right; if not integrated, then segregation remains, which is a type of discrimination. So she should've explained better on the part where she says that the civil rights law is an "inverse" discrimination, while she claims that the "mixed economy" with individualistic capitalism is good for America.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Solution to Saturday's Puzzle

I found this piece to be quite funny. It almost seemed like the whole story is supposed to be a joke and humorous, but if I were to pick a joke or a part that's supposed to be funny, I would pick the part when he fills out the answers for the crossword puzzle. (At least that was the part that I started to crack up) I think it's supposed to be funny because even though the answer that Sedaris wrote wasn't the right answer, it kind of fit or went well with the clue. To directly bring the example from the piece, the first clue said "Seventeen across: a fifteen-letter word for enlightment." Then Sedaris says, "'I am not an asshole,' I wrote, and it fit." Another part that I would call a really good joke would be the part when he said that even the women's snore sounded like it was accusing him. And the way the a-word was written with the dashes, I felt like I was hearing Sedaris' voice, reading the story to me.

And I don't know if you'd accept a cartoon as a joke, but I hope you like it.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Ronson Summary

Through describing his experience with the new leader of Ku Klux Klan, Ronson tells the readers that the extremists like the Klansmen are as good as stupid because of their extreme racist ideas, which blind them from seeing the very fundamental, and easy problem. In Ronson's narration, Thom Robb, the new leader of KKK, tells the Klansmen that they should look friendly, that they should act like the good guys, so they can gain the political power, or the support of "feminine masses". And he goes on to claim that they will not gain the political power if they kept the old, "bad" way, which holds much aggression and thus forming negative images in other people's mind. This depicts the absurdity of Thom's whole speech because KKK or any other racist group is not gaining public support not because of their negative image but of their very nature - a group existing to discriminate any other ethnic group than white.

I found this piece to be quite amusing because Ronson tells this story very objectively, as if he was just observing them and not really thinking or judging any of their actions. But it is hard not to think that people described in here are stupid. And Ronson's close-to-being-dry tone just adds to its witt. I thought that it was much harder to find a solid point on this piece than on Gross', because he's not really stating anything and just implying his point, letting the reader to feel what he's trying to say.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Gross Summary

In her short piece, Bitch, Beverly Gross introduces the reader to the various meaning of the word "bitch," ranging from the dictionary definitions to the definitions that people give when they were asked for the word's meaning. Gross gives a few examples from each source that she got the definitions from, and claims that "the metamorphosis of bitch...is a touchstone to the changing position of women through this century" (80). The themes of bitch that emerged over time, according to gross, ranged from the promiscuousness to temperament to power (as in more liberty and competence), corresponding with the traits that men fear to see in women. Towards the end Gross implies that the word bitch might not be as powerful in the future, giving the example case of Madonna, that it "will embolden others with what consequences and effects it is impossible to foresee" (84).

Generally I agreed with most of the definitions that Gross gave, but I felt like she put too much emphasis on the "breaking the gender role" idea. I do agree to her point when she says that women's position is changing over time, that they are gaining more power, but it's hard to see that that change is what men fear to see in women (at least, not all men do). I guess that could relate to the datedness of the piece, when gender-based stereotype was rather rigid. I also found hard time agreeing with her "prediction," that the word bitch could lose its power in the future because I still think that it's a very offensive word to use, even almost 20 years after the piece was written, and I also believe that the "trend" of using the word bitch lightly shouldn't happen.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011